At least 10 volunteer teachers are on a go-slow at the Pleebo High School in Maryland County, demanding to be included on the government payroll.
The volunteer teachers include parents, community dwellers and the school’s faculty, currently preparing students for the upcoming West African Senior Secondary Certificate Examination (WASSCE) for 12th graders, expected to kickoff across Liberia in May.
Mr. Edward T. Freeman, a Mathematics teacher and spokesman for the volunteer teachers, said he has been teaching as a volunteer since 2016 and is yet to be employed.
“I became volunteer at Pleebo high school since 2016 up to present. I have been filling in Ministry of Education PANs [Personnel Action Notice] but each time I fill in PAN, there is no outcome. And looking at the subjects we’re teaching, we are overloaded. But we are working tirelessly for the growth and development of the institution and we are not benefiting from the government”. Mr. Freeman lamented.
He noted that due to the prompt intervention of the county authority and the county education officer, they might suspend the go-slow for now, but warned that if nothing is being done to address their employment this semester, they would at once abandon the school in the upcoming academic year 2020/2021.
“If the educational authority of Maryland County does not fulfill her promise made to us yesterday, in seeking our employment this semester, then, that proves to us that the education authority in Maryland does not prioritize the education sector in Maryland. They don’t want to see the quality of teachers the school deserves, so if they will apply no effort to place us on payroll, we will have no option, but to hundred percent abandon the school”
The boycott of classes by teachers especially, volunteers, is becoming rampant in public schools in Maryland, as educational authorities are reneging in addressing the situation.
Some volunteer teachers are now shifting their focus from the teaching career and venturing into different fields in search of greener pastures. As a result of this, students are always lingering in the streets, demanding for teachers to return to the classroom.
For his part, the vice principal for instruction at the Pleebo High School, Mr. Samuel A. Odebode, pitied the incident and disclosed that due to the current economic crisis in Liberia, and the vulnerability of the volunteer teachers, the administration in collaboration with the Parent Teacher Association leadership, has drafted a student-oriented fund drive to raise money in order to compensate the affected teachers at the end of every month, saying “We are in sympathy with our ten volunteer teachers.”
Getting volunteer teachers on payroll has been a serious challenge for the Ministry of Education in Monrovia, due to financial constraints. By Gareyson Neufville, Maryland–Editing by Jonathan Browne